Father killed in online dating plot, convicted killer faces death penalty

May 13, 2020

UPDATED 5/13/20 by Court TV Staff: 

The penalty phase in the case of FL v Andre Warner is scheduled for October 19, 2020.

  • The penalty phase will take three weeks, including jury selection. The dates scheduled are October 19 to November 6.
  • Warner’s next hearing is scheduled for July 6.

Co-defendant Gary Gray’s trial, originally scheduled to begin in October, will now be moved to 2021 to accommodate the penalty phase for Warner.

 

UPDATED 3/27/20 by Court TV Staff: 

Per the court administrator’s office:

Judge Jalal Harb has granted the defense’s motion to dismiss the jury panel from Warner’s trial and select a new jury panel for the penalty phase.

  • During today’s proceedings, Judge Harb announced that he excused Juror# 1217256 from the penalty phase. The juror asked to be dismissed due to employment concerns. The juror works at Aldi Supermarket, and there was a discussion of him returning to work during the trial.
  • Second, Juror # 1214324 contacted the judge regarding reading on Facebook that the Warner trial was canceled. The judge told the juror that the information was incorrect and would update all jurors this afternoon.
  • All jurors will be notified that they are no longer needed for the penalty phase in Warner’s case.

Judge Harb scheduled a status conference for May 12, 2020, at 1:00 p.m. ET.

 

 

UPDATED 3/18/20 by Court TV Staff: A jury found Andre Warner guilty of First-Degree Murder in the death of 27-year-old Adam Hilarie. Warner, 27, was also found guilty of Conspiracy to Commit Robbery and Robbery with a Deadly Weapon. The judge informed the court that there will be a week-long break and the punishment phase is scheduled to resume March 30 as Warner faces the death penalty.

 

ORIGINAL STORY:

A Florida man was murdered after meeting a woman on a dating app, and now one of his alleged killers is finally going to trial.

On Aug. 18, 2016, 27-year-old Adam Hilarie went on a date with 18-year-old Hailey Bustos. The two had met on the dating app PlentyofFish, and enjoyed a night of bowling and hanging out at Hilarie’s place before he took Bustos home. That night, she reportedly texted him: “I had a good time and would to see you again,” all while conspiring with three others to rob the young father.

The next night, Bustos arrived at Hilarie’s home with Andre Warner, Gary Gray and Joshua Ellington. As the three men robbed Hilarie, one allegedly shot him in the head. According to arrest reports, Hilarie “was begging for his life” and “telling them he had a five-year-old daughter.” Prosecutors claim Warner pulled the trigger.

Bustos reportedly told police she was paid $50 to setup the robbery, but she didn’t know he would be killed. According to reports, she and Ellington were waiting in a vehicle outside Hilarie’s home during the murder. All four suspects were booked on charges of Conspiracy to Commit Robbery, Robbery with a Deadly Weapon and First-Degree Murder. Andre Warner, 27, will go to trial first. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. Jury selection will begin March 2, 2020.

TIMELINE:

2016

  • Aug. 18: Adam Hilarie & Hailey Bustos go on their first date. Later that evening, Hilarie drives Bustos home.
  • Aug. 19: At approximately 6:43 p.m., Auburndale police officers respond to reports of a suspicious death at Hilarie’s home.
  • Aug. 22: Police arrest Hailey Bustos, Andre Warner, Gary Gray and Joshua Ellington.
    • Suspects are ultimately charged with Conspiracy to Commit Robbery, Robbery with a Deadly Weapon and First-Degree Murder.

2020

  • March 2: Jury selection begins in the death penalty trial of FL v. Andre Warner.
  • March 10: Day 1 of trial
    • Opening statements begin.
  • March 11: Day 2 of trial
    • Crime Scene photos showing the bloody crime scene and Adam Hilarie’s lifeless body shown to jury.
    • Joshua Ellington testifies he’s been promised no deal in exchange for pointing the finger at Andre Warner.
    •  Alternate juror involved in a car accident after the first day of trial. Jury panel now 12 plus 2 alternates.
    •  Defense attorney Bob Norgard lets his frustrations flare at some late hour filings from the State that Norgard called discovery violations.
  • March 12: Day 3 of trial
    •  Hailey Bustos takes the stand, tells the defense attorney emphatically “I really don’t care if I spend the rest of my life in prison, as long as he’s behind bars too.”
    • Bustos’ mother and Adam Hilarie’s mother share an embrace in the gallery following Bustos’ testimony.
    •  The best friend of the victim Chris Rodgers breaks down unable to respond when shown the bloody gym shorts Adam Hilarie wore the day he died.
    • Judge admonishes Ducharme and Norgard for their antics during arguments outside the presence of the jury. Tells them it has no place in his courtroom after Ducharme says “that is ridiculous” referring to Norgard.
  • March 13
    • Coronavirus concerns halt trials across the state of Florida but Judge Harb makes a decision to go forward.
    • Cell phone expert places Andre Warner’s phone in the vicinity of the victim’s home on the night of the murder.
    • Denzel Raikowski, who was romantically involved with Hailey Bustos around the time of the incident, testifies he saw Bustos, Warner and the remaining two codefendants all leave together and then return the night of the murder.
  • March 16
    •  One juror says he’s a manager in the grocery store industry and fears his supervisors will ask for his jury service to be “recalled” so he can address mounting coronavirus concerns in the coming days. His service continues for now.
    • Text messages on Defendant Andre Warner’s phone are suppressed, including one from a friend asking Warner for a car and a gun two days after the murder.
    • Ex-girlfriend of victim shares heartfelt moments from Hilarie’s life through stories about his stolen hats.
  • March 17
    •  A recorded jail call between the Defendant and his grandfather is played in court. The defendant becomes emotional twice over references to his now-deceased grandfather.
    •  State rests.
    •  Defense’s DNA expert says the DNA on the shell casing found at the crime scene is NOT a match for Warner despite the State’s expert testifying that the casing had an uninterpretable amount of DNA.
    • Court bans spectators, including the victim and the defendant’s family from the courtroom.
    • Medical examiner describes on the stand how a bullet pierced Adam Hilarie in the head from behind and exited through his cheek–she found the victim did not die immediately.
  • March 18
    • Andre Warner takes the stand in his own defense
    • Jury deliberates for around 2:45 hours before finding Warner guilty on all charges

 

FUTURE DATES

  • April: Their trials have yet to be scheduled.
  • Oct. 26: Gary Gray’s trial begins.

 

 

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